A comprehensive national research report by Anglicare Australia has confirmed that low income households face growing obstacles in trying to access affordable rental properties.
The annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, released on 30 April, captured data on over 65,500 rental properties advertised nationally on the weekend of 11-12 April. It calculated how many of these properties were suitable and affordable for 14 separate household types, such as single pensioners, pensioner couples, the unemployed and minimum wage earners.
Affordable rent was defined as less than 30% of the household’s income, according to the commonly used affordability benchmark.
Other frequently cited research looks at how many households are in rental stress or severe rental stress because they are paying more than 30% or 50% of their income in rent. The Anglicare research is the only comprehensive analysis of just how few affordable rental properties are actually available at a given point in time.
It shows that less than 1% of the listed properties nationally were affordable for single people on government payments. Not surprisingly the data shows that the shortage of affordable rental properties is particularly acute in NSW.
Anglicare Sydney has noted that there was not one property affordable for single people on Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Disability Support Pension. This is despite an increase of 2,000 in the number of advertised properties compared to the equivalent weekend last year.
If anything the data understates the challenge facing low income households. Competition for available low cost rental properties is intense and there is no guarantee that a Centrelink recipient or low wage worker would actually obtain an advertised rental property that was considered suitable or affordable for them.
The Anglicare data, combined with social housing waiting times data on the Housing Pathways site, highlights the massive shortage of social and affordable rental properties across NSW.
These findings highlight the need for the Federal and NSW Governments to prioritise investment in new social and affordable housing, as NCOSS has been advocating.